New Routes on Ben Nevis for Dave MacLeod

© wee jamie
Dave MacLeod has climbed the extremely steep cracks to the side of the CIC icefalls on Ben Nevis.

Dave MacLeod making the first ascent of White Noise, Ben Nevis  © wee jamie
Dave MacLeod making the first ascent of White Noise, Ben Nevis
© wee jamie, Feb 2013

The route, now named White Noise, is a huge 40 degree overhanging roof climb.

Dave has just blogged about this and another excellent looking first ascent, stating:

"[White Noise] went at about M10+, maybe even M11. I'm not too sure since I haven't done that style of climbing for a while. Certainly it's as long and steep as Fast & Furious (M10/+) but with much thinner climbing and a bit of faffing with wires and cams to give the arms an extra workout. As a Scottish grade? Pffh, no idea. Greg recently confirmed the Cathedral at X,11 and it's got to be at least a grade harder than that. Regardless of the difficulty, it's something different to climb from the normal routine. It's not a turfy corner, it's not a gully. We've got plenty of those, but not many roof climbs in winter."

Dave climbed the route after abseil inspection taking several falls before suceeding on the route on his fourth attempt.

Following on from that route Dave also made what he thinks might be the first ascent of The Snotter, commenting on his blog:

"Next up I headed up the Ben with Michael to look at a hanging icicle on the Breneva Face in Coire Leis. It's a well known line universally known as "The Snotter" because of the double icicles that are always hanging there in winter but hardly ever touch down. Actually I have seen the left one touching down, but it was 5pm after doing another new route and my partner had to get a flight that night, otherwise I would have gone for a night ascent there and then. I've heard various stories of good climbers trying it, even falling off it! But as far as I know, it's never been done and has been referred to by others as 'the last great unclimbed icefall on Ben Nevis'...

...As far as we know, it's a first ascent. It felt about VIII,8 although it could be at the higher end of that grade? It's also one of the best winter climbs I've done on the Ben."

There is an excellent write up with brilliant photographs on Dave's Blog. Check it out.

Nice work Dave!

Dave MacLeod is sponsored by GORE-TEX , Scarpa , Black Diamond and Mountain Equipment


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26 Feb, 2013
Is it too early for popcorn? I am a big fan of Dave and what he does, but that is not under our winter climbing rules but he knows that. And while I know Dave is a great climber and is unlikely to be scratching and scraping his way up the rock, it still sets a bad example?
26 Feb, 2013
I'm surprised you haven't mentioned the name of the route. Well chosen, I'd say!
26 Feb, 2013
I wonder if White Noise might become something of an "oddity route", a bit like Garthwaite's Logical Progression has - an attempt at something different which doesn't actually get much attention afterwards. Looking at the great pics on Dave's blogs, the Snotter is the more interesting one from an "ethical" angle perhaps. It looks so obvious to me - exactly what mixed climbing in the non-British sense should be: hard moves on clear rock to get on to a fantastic ice feature, but the like the argument around that route in Wales with the funny name (something about mammoths?) a couple of years back - some people won't get passed the clear rock bit and ignore the beauty of the big fang of ice!
26 Feb, 2013
But when you open that door, are you not opening the same logic to climbing "incomplete" existing routes? Dry tooling up some rock feature on the ben to get to some incomplete ice smear half way up the crag? I can see the waters are muddied by the fact that the ice never touches down, but then at least wait until the ice is fat and the face is white? I am also aware of the fact that the Breneva Face gets the sun. Is this confusing to continentals who don't know the ethics? How can you justify the ethics when there are "exceptions" ?
26 Feb, 2013
I think these things have never been super straight forward, if I remember right both Mega Route X and the Shroud hadn't touched down when they were first led - presumably meaning some scrabbling on rock going on to get the first couple of sticks in the ice. I'm sure there are other routes around elsewhere like that too. It will be interesting to hear what the other people at the top of the Scottish Winter Game think.
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